Recovering addicts can benefit from the support of a loving family in addiction treatment. Addiction is a complex disease that affects millions of people in the United States each year. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health states that 23.9 million Americans over the age of 12 used illegal drugs in 2012, about 9.2 percent of the population. In addition, alcohol abuse affected 17 million adults over the age of 18 in 2012. The need for addiction treatment to restore the lives of these individuals to full function and productivity grows each year. Family support plays a critical role both in the process of treatment and the post-treatment recovery period for these individuals.
Getting Addiction Treatment
The addict’s family is often the motivating factor in convincing the individual to enter a treatment program. The patient may have undergone years of alcohol or drug use, with a variety of negative consequences over that period. In many cases, only the family knows how severe the addiction has become. The family may have been through a number of crises with the patient that have made the need for treatment evident. They may also have conducted an intervention to convince the addict to enter a program to recover their sobriety and their lives.
The Role of Family in Addiction Treatment
All families have roles that each member plays within the family unit. Addiction often complicates these roles and changes them into unhealthy behaviors that affect both the addict and other family members. Some members of the family may find they become “co-dependent” to the addiction, helping to smooth family upsets to the extent that they help to continue the addiction. Other family members may become hostile and angry at the disruption in the family that the addiction has caused.
Treatment for the addict must also investigate the role of each member in the family and how the addiction has affected each individual. In this way, each member of the family learns to change his or her reactions and deal with ingrained behaviors that affect the addict’s substance abuse. These changes throughout the family structure can make a significant difference to the addict’s ability to manage their cravings and negative behavior.
Family Dynamics Become Stronger
During treatment, the family serves a number of functions for the patient. Family members are important connections to the outside world, helping to remind the patient of the goals of regaining his or her former life. Family members may also be involved in therapy sessions, to help the patient understand past behaviors and find new ways to deal with common stresses and problems. The family may find they have to deal with a number of internal issues that exacerbate the addiction problem. During the process of therapy and treatment, they can also learn healthier methods of interaction that help not only the addict but also the family dynamic as a whole.
Healing Family Wounds
During the years of addiction, it is a common problem that families endure a number of negative behaviors at the hands of the addict. Lying, theft, loss of job, financial problems, medical problems and legal issues may have created an atmosphere of tension and crisis in the family dynamic. Involvement of family in addiction treatment can help the members of the family air these grievances in the safe and constructive atmosphere of the inpatient facility. The family can confront the addict with the consequences of their actions. The addict can begin the process of repairing his or her relationships, which can help them learn to maintain other interactions in life.
Family Role After Treatment
After the treatment program is over, the family must take on a new role of importance for the patient. Knowing the depth of the addiction problem and the patient’s struggles during treatment mean that the family has a profound inside knowledge of his or her unique problems. Recovery is an ongoing process that does not end when inpatient treatment ends. The patient must often rely on family members’ encouragement and observations to provide important feedback on dealing with their integration back into normal life. They can be helpful in ensuring that the addict attends aftercare sessions to ensure that their recovery continues successfully.
If you or a loved one need help with an addiction problem, contact an inpatient treatment facility immediately. The road to recovery can start immediately to bring relief and sanity to addicts and their family in addiction treatment.